by Julie Dodd
JEA Mentoring Committee co-chair

Judy Robinson assists as the class worked on their blogs. Photo by Julie Dodd

A week  at the High School Journalism Institute at Indiana University was action-packed for the teachers who took Multimedia for High School Journalism Educators and for Judy and me, who were the instructors for the course.

The class was a good reminder of the range of teaching situations and teaching experience.

Our group included a senior who will be student teaching in journalism and English this fall. The group also included a teacher who will be beginning her 30th year of teaching and advising student media next fall.

One taught in a minority majority school in an urban area. One taught in an almost entirely white school in the suburbs.

What unified all of us was the desire to be better teachers and the conviction that journalism classes and media production are some of the most engaging learning experiences for students.

Our class included several new teachers who would be eligible to be mentees if only they were in states with mentors. Their discussion in class and in our group lunches were good reminders of the special challenges new teachers and advisers face — from developing a good working relationship with school administrators to developing an appropropriate and productive rapport with the students.